1. What is religion, why do religions exist, and why do you think the study of religion is important?
This is a three-part question. Answer each part carefully. For example, you might ask/answer: What are some common characteristics of organized religions? What is the difference between spirituality and religion? Why is the study of religions important? What are three primary ways that scholars have approached the second half of this question, who are they, and what do they say specifically? Why is understanding religion important for healthcare professionals?
2. What are significant similarities and differences between the Hinduism and Buddhism?
3. What are significant similarities and differences between Indigenous Sacred Ways, Daoism, and Nature Spiritualities?
4. What are significant similarities and differences between the three Abrahamic faiths?
N.B. For Questions 2., 3., and 4., an excellent essay will 1) describe the important characteristics of the religions and 2) compare/contrast them. An excellent answer also will discuss some of the important elements from each of the following three categories: origins and historic development, basic beliefs, and contemporary practices for each religion. To organize your thoughts, you might want to make a chart. Here are some examples of categories to consider (there are many more):
• The Origins and Historic Development
o the origins with dates and context
o important figures and dates
o development of the religion to the present
o contextual influences on the religion’s development
• The Basic Beliefs
o Understanding of the sacred, humanity, creation
o Understanding of the relationship between the above
o Understanding of suffering
o The Goal or purpose of human life and how its achieved
o Sacred texts and the location of authority for believers (priest, text, community, self, other?)
• Contemporary practices
o contemporary worship practices/rituals
o festivals and holy days
o life cycle rituals
o community life